For more information on moving to New Zealand and the individual cities, click here: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington.


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New Zealand is an epic destination for anyone looking to make a move to another country. It has a dynamic and widely celebrated Maori culture and many enormous national parks. Fast paced city life or a mellow and quiet town, New Zealand can be anything you want it to be. Read on to find out all you need to know about the Land of the Long White Cloud.


If you are looking to move to New Zealand, you can apply for jobs before the move. However, after getting a job placement, you’ll need a work visa before you can start working. The Careers New Zealand website offers an extensive database of impressive job opportunities open to immigrants. The site also teaches you how best to write a New Zealand style CV. It has other useful tips like finding jobs in the country for immigrants too. Job search sites like Trade Me and Seek are popular in the country and they list a lot of vacancies. However, some employers on these sites may not be open to non-native job seekers. You can look up the list of accredited employers open to employing immigrants as provided by Immigration New Zealand for non-specific job vacancies.

Visa and citizenship

The Immigration New Zealand website provides information on all the types of visa issued to people visiting New Zealand. The country has remarkably developed its immigration policies to support the country’s economic growth. Visa types include student visa, work visa and partner’s visa. The type of visa you get is dependent on your intent for visiting the country.

Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) grants citizenship via two routes – by grant and by descent. Citizenship by grant is the more popular option, especially for immigrants who have at least five years of residence status. You can read up on the requirements for citizenship and check your eligibility status on the New Zealand Government website.

Cost of moving

The cost of moving varies largely as it depends on where you are moving from and what you are bringing along. You are not allowed to bring in certain items into the country. These items are referred to as risky items. Food, animals and animal products, plants and plant products, endangered species are examples of some of these risky items. Do declare before being granted entry into the country. Some items are strictly prohibited while some may require a special permit for approval. Here is a comprehensive list of items to declare at customs as provided by the Ministry for Primary Industries.


The healthcare system in New Zealand is efficiently managed and has high quality service. According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, there are about 40 well-equipped public hospitals and several other private hospitals spread out across several cities in the country. Residents of New Zealand is entitled to free medical services, with only a few exceptions. Immigrants however, often depending on their visa type, may not enjoy the heavily subsidised and free medical service. Hence, do take out a medical insurance policy, at least until you achieve residency status. Dental services are not included in the free public health system but New Zealand does have a Talk Teeth programme. It grants every child under the age of 18 access to free dental services. In case of medical emergency situations, 111 is the number to call.

Buying property

Recently, there were some rule changes regarding buying and owning property in New Zealand. Unfortunately, they are not in favour of foreigners. In August 2018, the country’s parliament passed an Overseas Investment Amendment Bill. This bill prohibits foreign investors from buying into the housing market especially residential properties. You can still do limited investment in apartment complexes and hotels. This bill enables native New Zealanders to purchase homes without interference of wealthy overseas investors driving up prices. There are certain exceptions to foreigners who can buy property in the country according to the bill. This bill has exceptions for foreigners with the following:

  • New Zealand residency status
  • From Australia and Singapore (owing to the free trade agreements)
  • Already own properties in the country may not buy more, but already existing properties remain unaffected

If you are eligible to buy property in the country, Trade Me, Real Estate and Open2view are some of the most popular property search websites to help you find a property in the market available for sale. You can also visit to get the estimates of a property based on actual sales information.

Renting property

Tenancy agreements in New Zealand are strictly enforced between the tenant and landlord. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides many useful services. You can access quality tenancy services and find out about all aspects of rental tenancy. On top of that, you can get support services, including mediation services for rental disputes too. You have to pay rent on a weekly basis in New Zealand. According to Trade Me Property, one of the top property search websites, the national average for weekly rent was estimated at:

  • 1 room in a shared apartment –  NZ$155
  • 1 to 2 bedroom apartments – NZ$390
  • 3 to 4 bedroom apartments – NZ$460 to NZ$525 / NZ$600 to  NZ$850 for Auckland

The law also mandates that every tenant must pay at least two weeks worth of rent as bond. The landlord helps to pay this amount to the Ministry of Housing.

Cost of living

The cost of living in New Zealand varies from city to city. According to data provided by, the top 5 most expensive cities to live in based on the price index are Auckland, followed by Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin. Auckland is about 9% more expensive than the capital city Wellington and 28% more expensive than Hamilton. You can use the New Zealand Now’s cost of living calculator for a more comprehensive and comparative review of cost of living information.


A good number of indices rate New Zealand as one of the best countries in the world for education. New Zealand is known for its varied and diverse system of education. It also happens to be one of the best funded public education system worldwide. New Zealand’s system of education is divided into 3 levels: early childhood education, primary and secondary education, and higher education.

Early childhood education

Early childhood education begins from age zero until the child is old enough to start standard formal education. That happens often at around the age of 5. Although it is not compulsory, almost 97% of school children in New Zealand have an Early Childhood Education (ECE). There are different forms of ECE all designed to help children build valuable skills they will need later in life. Like other levels of education, the government subsidised ECE. You can visit the parents’ website to learn more about ECE.

Primary and secondary education

These 2 levels of education are for children between the ages of 5 and 17. Primary level runs from Year 1 to Year 8, aged 5 to 12. Secondary school goes on from Year 9 to Year 13, aged 13 to 17. Education in government funded or owned schools are free and compulsory. These are for all children who are permanent residents or citizens of New Zealand. There are 3 types of schools in New Zealand. Firstly, state run (owned and funded by the state). Secondly, state integrated (state schools with a special character funded by the federal government). Finally, privately owned schools. The schools are typically secular and follow the national curriculum. Private schools are at liberty to deviate from the national curriculum and develop a unique learning curriculum.

Although private schools may receive financial support from the government, parents often have to pay the school fees in full. Education in private schools is not subsidised. The fees range from NZ$800 to NZ$4000 depending on the school’s socioeconomic ranking. The public schools only require a mandatory payment of the attendance dues. After you complete secondary school level, graduates are awarded the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). You will be given levels 1 to 3 based on their performance in the last three years of their secondary school education. That would be between years 11 to 13 in a range of subjects.

Higher education

Students can enrol in various institutions of higher learning. Some of them include:

  • Trades academies
  • Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics
  • Private training establishments for vocational
  • Technical education at diploma and certificate levels

There are 8 government funded universities in New Zealand for you to choose from. They all happen to be ranked in the top 3% of universities in the world, a testament to the country’s academic excellence. Fees for international students in this level range from NZ$20,000 to NZ$75,000 per school session. However, individuals whose parents are in the country on work visas may qualify as local students to pay fees at a reduced rate starting at NZ$5,000.You can read up more information on the New Zealand educational system from the Ministry of Education website.

Getting around

There are a number of ways to move around in New Zealand. They have an exceptional network of well maintained roads. If you prefer to drive yourself, it is best to have a personal or rental vehicle. There are vehicles to suit every budget as well as car rental companies to help you rent a vehicle. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road like in most western countries. It has an average speed limit of 50 km/h in metropolitan cities and 100 km/h outside the urban areas.

You need to be at least 21 years old to drive or rent a car in New Zealand. You can visit the New Zealand Transport Agency website to find out more about driver’s eligibility. If you would rather have someone else take the wheel, you can use the public transport system. You can take buses, ferries, water taxis and trains.

Mobile network providers

The 3 major phone companies in the country are Vodafone New Zealand, Spark New Zealand and 2Degrees and they all have their own network towers. There are less established mobile network providers like Skinny Mobile, Warehouse Mobile, Compass, Blue Sky and Slingshot. They rent towers from either of the top 3 operators and sell their plans at a discount to customers.


The mobile operators in the country offer GSM, UMTS, HSDPA and LTE networks.Vodafone offers all the network services; Spark doesn’t offer GSM and HSDPA isn’t available on 2degrees. However, you must ensure that your phone supports the network you intend to use. If you purchased your cell phone via a mobile phone carrier in your origin country, it may be locked. This means you won’t be able to use it in New Zealand. You can either unlock it or buy another one when you get into the country.


Currently, you can consider up to 26 banks registered with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Some of the major banking institutions include ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank and Westpac. For foreigners, you can open and set up a New Zealand bank account before you move into the country. Do open one before you arrive if possible. It will be easier for you to transfer your assets to your new account. Your salary can easily be paid into your bank account after you find a job. Nevertheless, you can always open a bank account upon your arrival in the country.

There is no limit to the amount of cash you can bring in. For amounts exceeding NZ$10,000 however, you will need to fill out a Border Cash Report before you enter the country. Although there are banks in all cities across the country, not every bank operates nationally. Find out if your New Zealand bank of choice is available in the area you plan to live in. Ask about any documentation and certifications you may need to bring along to activate your account. You can visit the New Zealand Now website for more information on their banking and financial services.

With all of these in mind, moving and settling down in New Zealand should be easy for you! New Zealand is a wonderful place to live in and becoming a Kiwi is definitely something to look forward to.

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